Wii Watch: Desperate parents, meet the hoarders and profiteers

Last night on the local newscast, one of the anchors had a segment about trying to buy a Nintendo Wii. And she had the same results that I did a few weeks ago: No consoles available anywhere. It's not just here, either: Nintendo has admitted that there's a global hardware shortage, according to the BBC.

The local TV anchor put a funny face on the situation, but there won't be any chuckles four weeks from now, as the warnings grow more frequent and desperation sets in. I think we all know what to expect: Panic, profiteering, and reports of parents fighting in mall aisles.

Already eBay listings are filling up with entries describing $450 Wiis, and it looks like many of the listings were posted by "power sellers" who have hoarded the consoles in anticipation of just such a situation. Even legitimate retailers are getting in on the act -- check out this incident involving alleged sleazy sales tactics at a Best Buy in New Jersey.

If you have no idea what a Wii is, or why it's so popular, take a few minutes to watch this video. It shows some of the recently announced wireless controllers for the gaming console, including the Fit. What appeals to many parents is the fact that the console is not just for traditional gamers. Young kids and people who are not inclined to play hardcore titles (Warcraft, FSPs, Madden, etc.) can get into the act, and can even -- shock horror -- get some physical exercise!


Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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